Zomato assures customer data is safe, contacts hacker to 'destroy' stolen info

A day after Zomato’s website was hacked the company has said that it is in touch with the hacker to delete the stolen data

The company had reported yesterday that about 17 million user records have been stolen from its database, which included user email addresses and "hashed" passwords but no payment information or credit card data.

The number was revealed on the Zomato blog itself, which states that the hackers were able to get the e-mail addresses and passwords of these users. The company said it will be actively working to plug any more security gaps in its systems. Meanwhile, the cyber security experts say that the hacker might not only mis-utilize the data but can also blackmail the users.

"The "ethical hacker" - whose identity has been kept under wraps - simply wanted to expose the security vulnerabilities in the company's structure", read the blog post. The data which was being sold on the Dark Web has now been taken down after an agreement between the company and the hacker (s).

Either way, Zomato's data breach of 6.6 million users is pretty big.

Zomato claims that the hacker gave them all the details about gaining access to the database, and that they will post the information on their blog once the loopholes are closed, so that others can learn from their mistakes. The hacker has also since taken down the listing it posted online, where he/she said he/she was willing to sell the data.

"Access token leakage is much more severe as I could have seen private photos of all Zomato users who have connected their Instagram account using Instagram API", Prakash added. Bug bounties are a standard program among tech companies, where they reward outsiders to highlight bugs and flaws in their software systems.

According to Zomato‚ the person behind the hack came forward and told them exactly how they did it‚ and agreed to delete the data in exchange for the company setting up a bounty programme for security researchers.

Zomato said over 120 million users visit its site every month. "When Zomato users trust us with their personal information, they naturally expect the information to be safeguarded". Zomato's admission that it used a simple encryption method for user account passwords is worrying. This put users at risk since the encrypted passwords stored on Zomato's database can be converted into readable formats easily. Important update on the security breach - https://t.co/9mqwoOYY8F - leaked data removed from marketplace, continuing corrective steps.

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